Skift Take

From private jets to vacation rentals to mobile flight bookings, this week's funding rounds represent some of the most talked about sectors in the travel industry in 2016 and give some sense of where they're heading in the new year.

It’s been a busy week for travel startup funding that demonstrated the growth and potential of some sectors throughout 2016 and the opportunities they hold for next year.

A few companies landed some of the largest rounds for travel startups this year, including Series C rounds for JetSmarter and Hopper for $105 million and $61 million, respectively. We look at the significance of these deals and where this new funding puts these companies in our analyses and original stories below.

Each week we create a roundup of travel startups that have received or announced funding that week. The total amount raised this week was more than $218 million.

Here are six companies that announced they raised funding this week and see previous roundups here.

>>Claiming a $1.5 billion valuation with its latest round, JetSmarter raised a $105 million in Series C funding from new investors JetEdge and London-based KZ Capital and existing investors that include Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter, Xojet and the Saudi Royal Family. The Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based company’s total funding now stands at more than $157 million.

JetSmarter, founded in 2012, is a private jet startup with a mobile app connecting travelers to private jets in real-time and is membership-based. Members pay $15,000 for the first year of membership for seats on private and charter flights and go through a background check before becoming a member. The company also doesn’t own any planes and works with operators, carriers and owners that manage the aircraft.

JetSmarter offers flights to 50 cities including New York City, London, Moscow, Las Vegas and Dubai. “The JetShuttle service currently has the most routes between cities in the U.S. and Europe — owning 96 percent of the shared shuttle business — but doing very strong business in the Middle East,” JetSmarter told Skift. “With this round of funding, JetSmarter plans to continue the global expansion of its JetShuttle service into Latin America, Asia and India and expanding within existing countries where there is enough supply to satisfy demand for new cities and routes.”

While JetSmarter claims to own 96 percent of the shared shuttle business between the U.S. and Europe, this is likely a fraction of the larger private charter market.

For example, Xojet, a private air charter service and an investor in JetSmarter’s latest round, announced this week that it’s partnering with Etihad Airways to give Xojet’s existing Preferred and Elite Access clients Gold Status with Etihad Guest, Etihad’s airline’s loyalty program.

>>Hopper, an app-only flight booker, has raised a $61 million Series C round led by new investor Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ), one of North America’s largest pension fund managers, and participation from existing investors Brightspark Ventures, Accomplice, Omers, Investissement Québec and BDC Capital IT Venture Fund. Hopper’s total funding is now $82 million since it was founded in 2007.

Read Skift’s coverage and analysis of Hopper’s latest funding here.

>>Vacation rental booking site raised a $35 million Series C round led by new investor Princeville Global and with participation from Adams Street Partners. The San Francisco-based company’s total funding comes to more than $52 million as it said it will gross about $500 million in bookings this year. counts 10 million vacation rental listings on its site and has partnered with some of the world’s largest booking sites including HomeAway, VRBO, TripAdvisor and The company has 32 employees in San Francisco and plans to use this latest round for expansion, particularly in Asia.
>>In a nod to event marketing, SplashThat, an event marketing software company, raised a $7 million Series B round led by new investor Ascent Venture Partners and with participation from existing investors Spark Capital, Lerer Hippeau Ventures, Tumblr Founder and CEO David Karp, Vine co-founder Rus Yusupov and ScaleUp Ventures. The company is based in New York City and its total funding is $14.5 million.
SplashThat recently announced the launch of SplashConnect on the Salesforce AppExchange, which provides Salesforce customers with analysis of their event marketing efforts.
>>TripAdvisor led a $5.2 million Series B round for Traxo, which aggregates data mostly in the corporate travel sphere. Read our analysis of the round and why it makes total sense for TripAdvisor here.
>>Suiteness, a booking site for luxury hotel suites, closed a $5 million Series A round co-led by new investors Bullpen Capital and Global Founders Capital and with participation from HVF, Y-Combinator’s Continuity Fund, Kima Ventures and Altair Capital. The Oakland, California-based startup’s total funding tops $6.1 million with this round.
The company’s roster of more than 100 hotel partners includes The Venetian and Palazzo Las Vegas, Caesars Entertainment, SLS Hotels and Viceroy and Dream Hotels. It also has a membership program that includes airport limo pickup, personal concierge and access to suites not previously bookable online. Suiteness has nearly 50,000 members and provides access to 30,000 luxury suites in Las Vegas, Miami, Los Angeles, New York, Orlando and London.

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Tags: funding, vcroundup

Photo credit: JetSmarter, pictured here, raised a $105 million Series C round this week to help it add more routes and expand to new markets. JetSmarter

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